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Wipro Q3 FY14 Results: Making Progress, But Is it Catching Up?

Wipro results this quarter show an ongoing improvement: topline growth is continues to improve and operating margin is the highest it has been for two years. Clearly, it still has a way to go to catch up with Indian growth rates (NASSCOM guided on 14% this FY), let alone with TCS. This quarter, Wipro achieved an operating margin of 23% and $101m in y/y topline growth; TCS achieved an operating margin of 29.8% and $490m in y/y topline growth).

Wipro’s Energy and Utilities unit, boosted several years ago by the June 2011 SAIC unit acquisition , continues to be a major revenue growth engine: E&U contributed an estimated 31.5% of the y/y growth this quarter. Wipro’s Healthcare and Life Sciences unit has also delivered two quarters of double digit growth.

BFSI continues to contribute around 20% of the y/y revenue growth, but it has been two years since BFSI, Wipro's largest industry group, achieved double digit growth. There will be some revenue contribution to BFSI in Q4 FY 2014 from the imminent acquisition of mortgage origination and servicing specialist Opus CMC. Optus will boost Wipro's BPO revenues in FY 2015, also expanding its onshore delivery presence in the U.S. Wipro is looking to leverage Optus to build an end-to-end mortgage BPO offering introducing more automation and increasing the application of analytics.

While Wipro’s telecoms business continues to be soft (the company does a lot of R&D work in the telecoms sector), it has now had two consecutive quarters of positive growth and appears to have bottomed out after seven quarters of negative growth.

If we look at service line performance, IT infrastructure services and Business Application Services between them contributed $81m of the $101m incremental y/y growth for Wipro. Its Analytics & Information Management is not the growth engine it was in FYs 2012 and 2013; it is now regularly delivering quarterly revenues of around $120m.

Where Wipro is underperforming, in particular compared to TCS, is in bread-and-butter ADM services. For TCS, ADM delivered an estimated $173m in additional revenue this quarter, more than Wipro achieved across all its service lines ($173m in incremental revenue for Wipro would have meant a growth of 10.8% for the company). In contrast, Wipro’s ADM business has now had six quarters of negative growth. Infosys has been focusing on getting back to basics and is now seeing a recovery in its ADM business: we imagine Wipro is looking to do likewise (though in its service line reporting, ADM is just 20% of its business).

With headcount down 814 sequentially and y/y growth trailing topline growth, expect to see utilization improve next quarter. Attrition in both the IT services and BPO businesses continues to increase, to a level that is possibly of concern.

To finish on a positive note, we have been keeping an eye on y/y revenue growth from Wipro’s top 10 clients; its efforts to strengthen key account management continue to pay off, with these accounts growing faster than Wipro overall.

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